Nobody’s going to discover you. That’s just a myth. I don’t know where it came from, if it came from Hollywood movies thing. Yeah. Because it’s not going to happen. It has to come from your own hard work and your own stubbornness and your own refusal to quit.
Artist, Portland, Oregon
I am a painter, a cartoonist, a calligrapher and a jewelry designer.
What were your top two challenges?
Driving traffic to my website. Uh, so people would buy my jewelry and also finding customers who will want to buy my paintings, prints or originals.
What happened before you enrolled?
I really didn’t know where to start. I haven’t actually sold very many original paintings. I’ve sold a few prints. My focus for about the past six years has been on the jewelry and the political cartoons, but I’m really sick of doing cartoons because it doesn’t pay well and I just get dragged down by the whole political climate. We had our call a couple months ago, I told you I was about to start working with a Facebook ad agency. Do you remember that? Yeah, I think so. Yeah. Yeah, that ended up being a total disaster and I fired them like a couple of weeks ago. I wasted a ton of money, but I fired them before I had wracked up so much debt. And I had done some Facebook ads myself in the past, um, which had worked out. But this agency either didn’t know how to find my customers or you know, maybe there wasn’t enough of me in the ad. Cause I know people buy my work because of me. This is kind of something I I knew like deep down, but I didn’t want to accept it because I, I’ve been in Facebook ads groups before and I know there are people out there making hundreds of thousands of dollars selling products on Facebook.
What did you learn from that failure?
They’ll have this disconnect as to why my products and sell. I mean it’s jewelry people. It’s really, really niche. It’s not like cat necklaces, you know. Um, so I realized that people buy my work cause of me and it’s because of the videos I’ve done, the interviews I’ve done with other people, online, podcasts, people who’ve gotten to know me that way. And also people that I meet in person.
What has changed for you?
I think those daily exercises are actually helping a lot. Um, since I started doing those, my anxiety level has gone like way, way down.
What do artists need to know?
Nobody’s going to discover you. That’s just a myth. I don’t know where it came from, if it came from Hollywood movies thing. Yeah. Because it’s not going to happen. It has to come from your own hard work and your own stubbornness and your own refusal to quit in the face of like constant rejection.
What else to artists need to know?
You need to be your own representative. Don’t try and get a representative. Don’t just say, Oh, I’m not good at business. You have to spend as much time learning business as you did, learning your art. And some people will hate hearing that, but it’s true. Unless, unless you get a job at Disney or Warner Brothers or a movie studio, you know. Um, and I, I have friends who, who had jobs like that in the entertainment industry. Um, but if you’re an independent artist. don’t trust anybody to do your bookkeeping for you or manage you. That’s just bullshit. That’s a good way to screw yourself over.
Have you studied sales?
I have worked with a number of coaches and mentors about sales and marketing, um, and I have learned how to sell. Um, but obviously not well enough that I would bypass what you’re offering.
What self limiting belief have you had?
The biggest self limiting belief that I’ve had is that, and it’s something that I’ve had since I was a kid, is that like, people don’t like me and therefore they’re not gonna buy my work. And I’m starting to realize that, that is a self limiting belief that I probably developed, you know, on the school playground with my girlfriends who where like mean to me.
What is changing?
I’m starting to be more open to the idea of myself as something other than a struggling artist. Cause that’s like my story as you said. You know, I know I do really beautiful, really amazing work and my whole attitude has been I’m going to die and unknown, unappreciated artist. And um, I think that’s starting to change.
What would you have told your younger self?
Learn accounting software so you see what it’s coming in and what’s going out. So you can see if you’re profitable and if you’re not profitable, you need to go over your expenses and figure out why and cut out everything that you don’t absolutely need to run your business. Like, you know, Instagram growth or whatever. You know, it’s, that’s what I had to do after I racked up this huge bill with this ad agency. I had to fire them. I had to get rid of all my extras in my business, like Instagram growth. Um, so that you can give back to being profitable. Like from the very beginning because I did, I learned accounting software. It’s, it’s really simple. It’s Go Daddy bookkeeping. Um, it’s, it’s really, really simple. You don’t have to be accountant and you don’t have to take a class.
What did you learn?
It let me know how much do I have to reserve for my overhead. How much do I have to reserve to buy new inventory cause I don’t, I don’t produce all my jewelry anymore in my studio. I can’t do that. I don’t have the fancy equipment. I outsource it to China and I have a really great factory there that does really good work for me. But I can’t just pocket everything that I’m bringing in through my online sales or through my sales at fairs. Because then when it comes time to reorder new jewelry, where’s that money going to come from? You know, so you have to save a percentage of your income. I do it every week. I transfer like a percentage of what I earned the past week into my new inventory account and into my operational expenses account and into my taxes account. And then I have an account called, um, profit, which is like 3% of everything I earn. This is all stuff I learned from Mike McCollough. It’s from his book Profit First. And what I put in there is used only for something fun.
What would you tell other artists about this?
Honestly say that and really knows what she’s doing and she really understands the mind of artists and how we think. And that hasn’t been true with other coaches and mentors that I’ve worked with. Um, I’ve learned a lot from them, but selling art is different from selling a lot of other things and, Ann gets that and I can’t wait to learn more.